September 09, 2007

Mirin Dajo: Human Marvel - (WARNING: contains photographs which show apparently unharmed man, shirtless, with a fencing rapier THRUST thru his body - no blood) Dutch Fakir Mirin Dajo was a rather extraordinary gentleman. In 1947, at the Corso Theatre in Zurich, he allowed an assistant to plunge a fencing foil right through his body. The foil appeared to have pierced several vital organs and yet he remained relatively unharmed. He was able to repeat this feat multiple times, apparently at will.

The doctors could find no evidence of trickery but many still refused to believe what they saw. Mirin Dajo agreed to an x-ray with the foil in place. The resulting image confirmed the legitimacy of his abilities. There have been attempts to explain how Mirin Dajo (birth name Arnold Gerrit Henske) was able to achieve this feat, notably invoking the theory of his use of a fistula in his body to act as a conduit for the blade. While this would explain lesser piercing feats by other performers, Mirin Dajo's accomplishment would be extremely difficult to achieve in this manner, as the fistula would be required to traverse major organs and the abdominal cavity. Such a wound would be obvious under cursory medical examination, and it is highly unlikely that a person having such a disorder would not experience gross medical complications during its formation & later existence, such as the leakage of body fluids and/or purulent matter. In addition, if this method is possible, it has never been repeated. Furthermore, Mirin Dajo pierced his torso multiple times in different sites at the same time, requiring the use of several such fistulas, making the use of such a defect so unlikely as to be impossible. Mirin Dajo himself claimed that he was able to achieve the feats thru 'paranormal' powers and study of hidden mysteries. His stated goal was to bring about world peace via demonstration of non-normal abilities, which were not limited to simply wearing fencing swords in his chest. The Fakir did not die from this repeated feat, but probably from a later rather more odd one: 'voices' instructed him to eat a steel needle, which he did in 1948. It was surgically removed two days later. Ten days later he entered a trance-like state for three days. After that he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner performed an autopsy which revealed Dajo had died of an aortic rupture. It is not known if blood and water erupted from the wounds of this pierced prophet. He even has a website: - again, contains images which no doubt will disturb some people, although there is no obvious blood or suffering on display.

  • I myself have personally witnessed another supposedly impossible feat - the fire walk - on three separate occasions in different locales by different performers. With my own eyes I was able to observe that, in contradiction to the claims by debunkers, performers did not walk quickly over the white hot coals and rocks, but placed their feet and limbs in contact with the clearly high temperature materials for extended periods of time. While fine hairs and clothing were burned and singed on their legs and upper bodies by intense heat, the performers suffered no injuries from direct contact with the heated materials. There is no question that under some circumstances the human body is able to attain apparent immunity from physical damage. This is a physical impossibility, according to our understanding of physics and biology. I have no explanation and cannot speculate further.
  • When it comes to walking on coal, just check out the wikipedia entry - there's a reasonably good description given there. Jearl Walker (of Scientific American fame) did the demo many times. Initially he was, understandably, quite nervous, and generated the required amount of sweat on the soles of his feet to protect him. After a while, he did it once very confidently - and got a severe burn. I believe that he has not attempted it since.
  • Hi curieux!
  • Hmmmm now way to unlurk without being noticed around here. Hi to you too, Koko!
  • Dumb question -- how would one discover that one has such a talent?
  • There are some interesting chemicals which can be used to coat ones skin to protect against fire and the kinds of intense heat that can be found in buckets of molten metals. A couple of books for a little more on fakirs and godmen are: Miracle Mongers and their Methods by Houdini and The Sorceror's Apprentice by Tahir Shah. I'm sure there are even better ones out there, like a chemistry, physics or maybe even a kinesiology text. The piercing feat is quite amazing, though. This one is pretty hard to call a trick. However, for the most part, godmen, magicians and fakirs are, more or less, scientists who refuse to disseminate knowledge for their own gains. Secret knowledge is masturbation, anway. Not that Mirin Dajo was using slight of hand in his piercing feat, but if you add some to this video (perhaps swapping the solution with water) you've got a great example of fakir magic.
  • Some references for that x-ray may be nice.
  • What, the word of a crazy UFO website not good enough for you?
  • Now I'm gonna have the Highlander soundtrack running through my head all day. Not that that's a bad thing. I guess it's better than having a fencing foil running through your innards.
  • Dumb question -- how would one discover that one has such a talent? When you stab inadvertently run yourself through with a rapier, you fail to die. Must be a real bummer, were you aiming to fall on your sword.
  • The voices will tell you.
  • So, do all Dutch men look like van Gogh, or is it just this dude?
  • Words do hurt!
  • Dumb question -- how would one discover that one has such a talent? 1. Sign up for fencing lessons 2. Don't learn very well 3. 4. Profit!